Keeping a Gratitude Journal

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Sometimes we can hear things several times before they actually take root, make sense or we are at a point where they are applicable to our lives and routines. Take the journaling post from yesterday for example - keeping a journal in your purse so you can jot down ideas as they come is hardly earth shattering advice, but sometimes things just need to be said again so that the information reaches a person when they need it most.

This can also be said of keeping a gratitude journal. I tend to generally be a grateful person even without the journaling; I have been through some pretty distressing stuff in my life, including a period of time in my early twenties when I physically couldn't walk, and as a result I now take very, very little for granted. Yet I haven't really been one to proactively name my blessings - rather I had always thanked God or people for them after the fact.

I made it a resolution for myself this year to actively hope for some pretty impossible and implausible things - even when that hope can sting if those goals don't come to fruition - and to actively count my blessings. To help with this, I have been keeping a gratitude journal and each day, first thing in the morning, I write down three things in my life I am grateful for. They have ranged from business focused things, to the way my nephew has started smiling at everything, to how great it is that there are engineers geeky enough to love creating and refining those little plastic reflector lights on the freeway, enabling me to see my lane even with my blind-as-a-bat vision. I think one day I even wrote that I was ecstatic that I found the usual low priced $1.49 daffodils at a 50% discount at the market. Seriously, it is the little things that make life go round and nothing is too small or petty or dumb to be thankful for.

I don't buy into everything that The Secret espouses, and that is a conversation better had over coffee than a blog, but I do believe that there is power in positive thinking and renewing your mind. Keeping a gratitude journal is one way to help train your attitude to stay realistic rather than sliding into debilitating cynicism. By staying realistically optimistic, you open yourself up for possibilities and ideas that you wouldn't have considered before or that you would have dismissed as impossible. Most of us are entrepreneurs because at one point we had faith in the impossible and were willing to jump in with both feet and armed with a crazy amount of hope in the unknown.

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